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Local News

  • Dems: Popular vote should determine presidential winner

    By Milan Simonich

    The New Mexican

    New Mexico's five electoral college votes would be awarded to the presidential candidate who received the most popular votes nationally, under a bill that state senators approved Monday in a party-line decision.

    All 26 Democratic senators voted for the measure and all 16 Republicans opposed it, perhaps a predictable outcome three months after Republican Donald Trump lost the popular vote but handily won the presidency in the electoral college.

    The sponsor of the bill, Sen. Mimi Stewart, D-Albuquerque, said the electoral college allows presidential candidates to ignore most voters because it largely functions as a winner-take-all system in individual states.

    "Candidates have no reason to pay attention to states where they are comfortably ahead or hopelessly behind," Stewart said.

    In addition, she said, minority-party voters in heavily Republican or overwhelmingly Democratic states believe that their votes don't matter because the electoral college takes precedence over the popular vote.

  • ACT driver pleads guilty

    A former Atomic City Transit bus driver accused of having inappropriate contact with a 13-year-old minor rider pleaded guilty to a fourth-degree felony of criminal solicitation by electronic communication device Friday in First Judicial District Court in Santa Fe.
    As part of a plea agreement, Joseph Dimas, 31, will register as a sex offender for 10 years. He will also receive a deferred sentence with 18 months of supervised probation.
    If Dimas violates the terms of his probation, he will serve to the remainder of his probation in jail.
    The plea agreement was arranged by Assistant District Attorney Kent Wahlquist and Dimas’ attorney Stephen Aarons.   
    Dimas was arrested Oct. 2, 2016 by Los Alamos police after he reportedly confessed to detectives during an interview concerning allegations of a relationship with the minor made by the victim and an adult relative of the victim, according to police reports.
    At the time, he was charged with criminal sexual contact with a minor and enticement of a child. During the interview, Dimas confessed to  kissing the victim while the victim was on his bus and inappropriately touching the victim. He told the police no sexual intercourse took place and that the contact was over clothing and consensual.

  • New county logo strikes ‘balance’

    The new county logo is called “Balance,” and residents and visitors alike will be seeing more of the combined atom and leaf designs  around Los Alamos this year.
    At the March 7 county council meeting, the county will hold discussions about how to get the new logos out into the public through grassroots campaigns and partnerships with local businesses.
    The two logos that will be presented carry the same message, that Los Alamos is a place of not only science but of nature. One is horizontal, and the other is more circular. The logos have been in development for several years.
    Since 2014, a total of $137,000 was spent on branding efforts. Besides the 17,000 for the strapline and logo concept, $50,000 for a brandprint study, $35,000 for the creation of a brand identity, identity style guide and brand marketing plan, $20,000 for the brand action plan and $15,000 for promotion, ads and items leading up to the community launch and outreach, according to county spokeswoman Julie Habiger.
    The horizontal logo is of the name “Los Alamos,” with the tagline “Where discoveries are made” beneath it. In the “o” of “Los” there is the image of an atom and in the “o” of “Alamos” there is the image of a leaf.  

  • Police Beat 2-19-17

    Police Beat items are compiled from public information contained in Los Alamos Police Department Records. Charges or citations listed in Police Beat do not imply innocence or guilt. The Los Alamos Police Department uses the term “arrest” to define anyone who has been physically arrested, server a court summons, or issued a citation.

    Feb. 7
    Danielle Staley, 27, was arrested by Los Alamos police on a magistrate court bench warrant.

    Feb. 8
    Clay J. Staley, 36, was arrested by Los Alamos police on a municipal court warrant.

    Feb. 9
    Christopher Roger Carmichael, 46, was arrested by Los Alamos police on a district court warrant.

    Feb. 10
    Garrett Eckhart, 35 was arrested by Los Alamos police for bribery/retaliation against a witness, battery upon a police officer and resistance, evading and obstructing a peace officer.

    Jesse B. Gibbons, 31, was arrested by Los Alamos police for order of commitment.

    Francis Dan Pete, 35, was arrested by Los Alamos police on a felony warrant from another jurisdiction.

    Feb. 12
    Raymond J. Martinez, 32, was arrested by Los Alamos police for assault against a household member.

    Feb. 14

  • On the Docket 2-19-17

    David Reagor was found guilty by the Los Alamos Municipal Court of speeding six to 10 miles an hour over the speed limit. Defendant must pay $65 in court costs. Sentencing deferred until March 30.

    Patrick Valerio was found guilty by the Los Alamos Municipal Court of speeding 11 to 15 miles an  hour over the speed limit. Defendant must pay $65 in court costs. Sentence deferred until March 30. Defendant must also attend defensive driving school.

    James Burns paid a $50 fine for failing to display a current, valid registration plate while parked.

    Nanetta Manzanarez paid a $50 fine for failing to display a current, valid registration plate while parked

    Brad Philipbar pled no contest in Los Alamos Municipal Court to speeding six to 10 miles an hour over the speed limit. Defendant must pay $65 in court costs. Sentence deferred until April 29. Defendant was also sentenced to defensive driving school.

    Monica Stark was found guilty in Los Alamos Municipal Court of speeding one to five miles an hour over the speed limit in a school zone.  Defendant was fined $50 and must also pay $65 in court costs.
    Jan. 31

  • New Mexico grid linkup plan scaled back to $200M project

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — A company that once planned a $1.5 billion effort in New Mexico to link three major U.S. electricity grid systems and pump more renewable energy to more populated markets said Wednesday that it has scaled down the plan to one that would cost about $200 million.
    The Tres Amigas electrical infrastructure development company provided details about its plan a day after New Mexico's State Land Office suggested that the project was dead with the relinquishment of a long-term lease covering thousands of acres of state trust land in eastern New Mexico where the company's high-voltage transmission hub was supposed to be built.
    Russell Stidolph, the company's chief financial officer, said advances in technology and changes in the project's business model have reduced the amount of money and land required for the project and that Tres Amigas has identified a significantly smaller parcel as a backup site.
    The company's focus, he said, remains a project to connect independently operated electrical grids and move renewable energy generated in the rural reaches of eastern new Mexico to western U.S. population centers, including California.
    "Tres Amigas is not abandoning our project," he said.

  • LA students bring home trophies from FLL regional championship

    Students from Los Alamos were among the 36 teams competing in the First Lego League New Mexico Region Championship at Menual School in Albuquerque Feb. 11.
    Both local teams, the Atomic Phoenixes and the Split Atoms advanced from the Los Alamos Qualifier where 15 teams from New Mexico and Colorado competed for five championship slots.
    The Atomic Phoenixes brought home the first-place Programming Award, and the Split Atoms brought home the first-place Robot Performance Award.
    The Split Atoms came in fourth place overall and have the opportunity to advance to one of four national open invitational events in the coming months.
    Each year, as part of the FLL competition season, teams work on core values, a research project, and a robot game. Core values teaches team members that learning together, working as a team, and having fun are more important that what they win. The research project challenges students to develop innovative solutions for real-world problems.
    This year’s theme is “Animal Allies,” and solutions were focused on improving the interactions between humans and animals. The robot game is where teams build and program Lego Mindstorms robots to autonomously complete as many missions on the robot field as they can in three two-and-a-half minute rounds.

  • Relay for Life planning moves ahead

    The planning for the Los Alamos County American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life 2017 is moving ahead, with another meeting planned for 6 p.m. Tuesday in the small conference room of the Los Alamos Medical Center.
    The hope of the next meeting is to attract volunteers as team captains, and to have people attend who are cancer survivors and anyone interested in getting involved with this year’s Relay for Life.
    Many aspects go into planning Relay for Life, and to make it a successful event, the group needs the community’s  help, according to organizers.
    The following positions need to be filled this year:
    • Recruitment point of contact
    • Sponsorship point of contact
    • Entertainment point of contact
    • Fundraising point of contact
    • Survivor dinner point of contact
    • Logistics point of contact
    The organization’s goal is to raise $25,000 for cancer research for the American Cancer Society. This goal can be achieved by fundraising on-site during the event, off site prior to the event (bake-sale, car wash, silent auction, etc.), luminaria sales and donations from private parties and businesses.

  • Museum idea picks up steam

    A group of residents are continuing to drum up support through speaking engagements for an art museum in Los Alamos.
    Their latest event was at the UnQuarked Wine Room Feb. 9, where Ruth Tatter and Amy Bjarke explained their case as to why Los Alamos needs its own art museum.
    “We always think it’s great when we meet people who we think can get the word out,” Tatter said at the event.
    Their talk at UnQuarked centered on getting a building for their museum and their strategy going forward.
    While they look for a building, the Los Alamos Museum of Art group plans to give more talks and start volunteer and art programs the community can participate in. They are due to speak again at Karen Wray’s Gallery in March where they will show some artwork from the museum’s board members. They also plan to have lectures and events at Project Y. They are also a 501 C 3 corporation.
    The group has already been promised some art collections from some Los Alamos residents. Keeping those collections together, and in Los Alamos, is also an important priority.  
    “There is a sense of urgency,” Tatter said to the audience. “We have these collections promised to us, but they are currently being housed with the collectors. We really want to make a new home for them.”

  • LAPS superintendent’s contract extended another 3 years

    The Los Alamos School Board agreed to extend Superintendent Kurt Steinhaus’ contract another three years Tuesday. The contract now ends in 2020.
    The three-year extension is the maximum number of years allowed by state law. The approval was made during an executive session of the board.
    “That is the strongest possible statement that the board could make about our confidence in our superintendent,” said school board member Matt Williams.
    Steinhaus’ annual salary will remain at $160,000.
    Steinhaus noted during contract negotiations that the board would consider giving him a raise when the time came to consider raises for staff.
    “I would politely decline a raise, because I want the money to go to our teachers,” Steinhaus said.
    The board was impressed by Steinhaus’s performance since the board picked him two years ago to replace Superintendent Gene Schmidt.
    “From the discussions I’ve had with him and conversations with individual board members, I think the board is quite pleased with Kurt,” said LASB President Jim Hall.